Jewish Women’s Aid is delighted to announce that Iris Taylor,81, won the Unsung Hero Award at the national Third Sector Awards last week.

 Taking place at The Brewery in central London, Iris had been shortlisted for the award and was announced as the winner at the ceremony. 600 people from across the charity sector attended and several other awards were presented to recognise the best achievements of individuals at charities and voluntary organisations, celebrating work that makes a huge difference to society.

 Iris has been a loyal, committed and inspirational volunteer for thirty years. She is responsible for coordinating the volunteer rota for the Jewish Women’s Aid helpline, which is open for 12 hours, Monday to Thursday, and staffed by four volunteers every day. She is responsible for calling about 40 people every two months to ensure that all the shifts are covered, so someone is available for women to talk to when they call about domestic abuse and sexual violence.   Iris has a kind, gentle and patient approach and provides the volunteers motivation, support and reassurance.

 Jewish Women’s Aid’s helpline supports women experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence. Not only does it provide the caller with someone to speak to but often acts as the gateway to all of JWA’s services, enabling women to make decisions about their lives

Together with the organisation’s webchat service, launched during the pandemic, the helpline service received 196 calls, equivalent to at least one contact every day that the services are open (Monday to Thursday) in the first half of 2022. These avenues of support are a core feature of what we offer Jewish women: a confidential space to tell us what’s happening to them and be heard. 

Judy Roth, Jewish Women’s Aid’s Volunteers Coordinator said, ‘Iris is a truly inspirational volunteer, who has worked tirelessly to support our organisation. The award for the Unsung Hero award recognises her outstanding achievement over three decades. Congratulations and Mazal Tov’.

Iris Taylor said ‘I feel that this is an important volunteering role and I believe it is a mitzvah to do this role. I am delighted and so excited to be shortlisted for the award - thank you.’

 Naomi Dickson, JWA’s CEO said ‘We are absolutely delighted that Iris is getting this wonderful recognition after an unbelievable 30 years of volunteering for Jewish Women’s Aid.  Iris has seen the service grow and develop and has been absolutely core to the smooth running of our helpline.  With her help, we have supported thousands of Jewish women.  We are so proud that Iris has won this prestigious award – mazal tov.’